United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
DAVID THARP, Board of Trustees Chairman, on behalf of INDIANA/KENTUCKY/OHIO REGIONAL COUNCIL OF CARPENTERS PENSION FUND, et al. Plaintiffs,
CATRON INTERIOR SYSTEMS, INC., Defendant.
ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on the Plaintiffs' Motion for
Reconsideration filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 59(e) (Filing No. 78). The Plaintiffs in
this case are: (1) David Tharp, Board of Trustees Chairman,
and Doug Robinson, Board of Trustees Secretary, on behalf of
Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters Pension
Fund (the “Pension Fund”); (2) David Tharp, Board
of Trustees Chairman, on behalf of Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio
Regional Council of Carpenters Defined Contribution Pension
Trust Fund (the “Annuity Fund”); (3) David Tharp,
Board of Trustees Co-Chairman, and William Nix, Board of
Trustees Co-Chairman, on behalf of Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio
Regional Council of Carpenters Welfare Fund (the
“Welfare Fund”); (4) David Tharp, Board of
Trustees Chairman, and Joe Coar, Board of Trustees Secretary,
on behalf of Indiana Carpenters Apprenticeship Fund and
Journeyman Upgrade Program (“JATC”); (5) Douglas
J. McCarron, Board of Trustees Chairman, on behalf of United
Brotherhood of Carpenters Apprenticeship Training Fund of
North America (“UBCJA”); and (6)
Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters
(“the Union”). The Pension Fund, Annuity Fund,
Welfare Fund, JATC, and UBCJA will be collectively referred
to as the “Plaintiff Trust Funds.” The Plaintiff
Trust Funds and the Union will be collectively referred to as
Plaintiff Trust Funds initiated this action against Defendant
Catron Interior Systems, Inc. (“Catron”),
alleging violations of the Employment Retirement Income
Security Act (“ERISA”), 29 U.S.C. §§
1132 and 1145, and the Union's claims were brought under
29 U.S.C. § 185. The dispute in this action surrounds
Plaintiffs' request to compel Catron to allow the
Plaintiffs' payroll auditor to examine all necessary
books and records to complete a payroll audit for the period
of January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2012, and to seek
payment for any delinquent contributions uncovered by the
the Court ordered Catron to submit to an audit, the
Plaintiffs' auditor completed the audit for 2011 and
2012, and the Plaintiffs filed with the Court a status report
on the auditor's findings. Catron filed a response,
disputing the findings and conclusions of the auditor. On
December 18, 2015, the parties appeared by counsel before the
Court and presented evidence and argument in support of their
positions on the alleged delinquent contributions and the
results of the audit. On March 2, 2016, the Court issued its
Order regarding the audit and the delinquent contributions
owed to the Plaintiffs (Filing No. 74). The Court
determined that Catron was liable to the Plaintiffs for $117,
740.15. However, this amount was offset by $95, 367.50 owed
to Catron based on a series of market recovery fund grant
contracts. Thus, the Court awarded Plaintiffs $22, 372.65.
Id. at 11. The Plaintiffs filed a timely Motion for
Reconsideration. For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS
the Motion for Reconsideration.
motions to reconsider are not specifically authorized by the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, courts in the Seventh
Circuit apply Rule 59(e) or Rule 60(b) standards to these
motions. Smith v. Utah Valley Univ., 2015 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 70271, at *3-4 (S.D. Ind. June 1, 2015). A motion to
alter or amend under Rule 59(e) “must be filed no later
than 28 days after the entry of the judgment.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e). If timely filed, a motion styled as a
motion to reconsider should be considered under Rule 59(e).
Kiswani v. Phoenix Sec. Agency, Inc., 584 F.3d 741,
742 (7th Cir. 2009). The Plaintiffs' “Motion for
Reconsideration” was filed twenty-six days after the
Court issued its Order. Therefore, the Court will analyze the
Motion as a motion to alter or amend under Rule 59(e).
purpose of a motion to alter or amend judgment under Rule
59(e) is to ask the court to reconsider matters
“properly encompassed in a decision on the
merits.” Osterneck v. Ernst & Whinney, 489
U.S. 169, 174 (1989). “A Rule 59(e) motion will be
successful only where the movant clearly establishes: (1)
that the court committed a manifest error of law or fact, or
(2) that newly discovered evidence precluded entry of
judgment.” Cincinnati Life Ins. Co. v. Beyrer,
722 F.3d 939, 954 (7th Cir. 2013) (citation and quotation
marks omitted). Relief pursuant to a Rule 59(e) motion to
alter or amend is an “extraordinary remed[y] reserved
for the exceptional case.” Foster v. DeLuca,
545 F.3d 582, 584 (7th Cir. 2008). A Rule 59(e) motion may be
used “to draw the district court's attention to a
manifest error of law or fact or to newly discovered
evidence.” United States v. Resnick, 594 F.3d
562, 568 (7th Cir. 2010). A manifest error “is not
demonstrated by the disappointment of the losing party. It is
the wholesale disregard, misapplication, or failure to
recognize controlling precedent.” Oto v.
Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 224 F.3d 601, 606 (7th Cir.
2000) (citation and quotation marks omitted). Furthermore,
“a Rule 59(e) motion is not an opportunity to
relitigate motions or present arguments, issues, or facts
that could and should have been presented earlier.”
Brownstone Publ'g, LLC v. AT&T, Inc., 2009
U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25485, at *7 (S.D. Ind. Mar. 24, 2009).
Plaintiffs' Motion for Reconsideration, they assert the
Court erred in three of its findings. First, by allowing
Catron to assert its “setoff defense;” second, by
not finding that Catron misrepresented facts when it claimed
it had not been paid $95, 367.50 in market recovery funds,
and if a setoff is warranted, any setoff should apply only to
the Union and not to the Plaintiff Trust Funds; and third,
the Court erred by discounting the amount of contributions
owed to the Union based on a misunderstanding of information
contained in Exhibit 5 (Filing No. 79 at 2-4).
December 12, 2016 Entry on Motion for Reconsideration, the
Court resolved the first issue raised by the Plaintiffs
regarding any error in allowing Catron to assert its
“setoff defense.” (See Filing No. 86 at
4-7.) The Court granted leave to Catron to amend its
Answer and assert a counterclaim for setoff so that the
pleadings would conform to the evidence presented at the
original damages hearing. Catron filed its Amended Answer and
Counterclaim on January 2, 2017 (Filing No. 87).
Court notes that it is not necessary to discuss the
Plaintiffs' third argument-any setoff should apply only
to the Union and not to the Plaintiff Trust Funds-because the
Court determines that a setoff is not warranted.
Court turns to the Plaintiffs' argument that a setoff is
not warranted because Catron misrepresented facts when it
claimed it had not been paid $95, 367.50 in market recovery
funds. The Plaintiffs assert that Catron was paid $95, 367.50
for the market recovery fund grants, and having been paid,
Catron is not entitled to an additional payment via a setoff.
their Motion for Reconsideration, the Plaintiffs provided to
the Court exhibits of payroll forms as well as a bank
statement evidencing cancelled checks (Filing No.
79-1; Filing No. 79-2). The Plaintiffs also
introduced evidence of two cancelled checks made payable to
Catron dated March 29, 2011 and April 11, 2011, in the
amounts of $93, 800.00 and $1, 567.50, totaling $95, 367.50
(Filing No. 79-1 at 3-4). Relying on these two
checks, the Plaintiffs explain that Catron already has been
paid the monies owed to it under the February 28, 2011
contracts for market recovery fund grants, and thus, Catron
is not entitled to any setoff in this case.
responds that the March 29 and April 11, 2011 checks,
totaling $95, 367.50, were for payment of market recovery
funds related to union work performed in 2010, and this
litigation concerns union work performed in 2011 and 2012.
With its Response Brief, Catron submitted a sworn affidavit
stating that it never received payment for the market
recovery fund grants for the year 2011 (Filing No.
80-1). Thus, Catron argues, payment owed to Catron for
the market recovery ...